View Full Version : Kyoto Treaty

22nd Oct 2004, 05:00
Saw this in the paper today and thought I would post it since the U.S. is always getting blamed for not signing Kyoto. I am curious to see the comments this is going to bring........

Kyoto is unfair to U.S.

Thu Oct 21, 6:40 AM ET

By S. Fred Singer

In July 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 for a resolution opposing any international treaty that would damage the economy by restricting energy usage, raising the cost of fuels for transportation, heating and electricity.

This unanimous vote included Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman (news - web sites), D-Conn., who are currently advocating just such restrictions. But the resolution was right. A treaty obligating developed nations but not China, India, Brazil and Mexico would produce huge U.S. job losses as industries moved overseas.

However, because of the initiative of then-vice president Al Gore (news - web sites), the U.S. signed just such a treaty, the protocol negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. But President Clinton (news - web sites) never submitted it for Senate ratification. And President Bush (news - web sites) has consistently declared Kyoto "fatally flawed."

Neither Bush nor the Senate has pointed out, however, that Kyoto is not only costly and unfair to the U.S., but it is also ineffective in averting a feared global warming. Scientists all agree that at best it would reduce the calculated temperature rise in 2050 by an insignificant one-tenth of a degree.

Russia has been more outspoken. The Russian Academy of Sciences, in a May 2004 report, questioned the reality of substantial future warming, concluding that Kyoto lacks any scientific base. President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) declared Kyoto "scientifically flawed" and intimated that Russia would not ratify it.

Yet, ironically, Russia's parliament will likely ratify it before the year's end, making Kyoto binding on all ratifiers. Why? The reason may be short-term economic gain, as the protocol permits selling Russia's unused emission rights to Europeans anxious to ease the economic penalties of Kyoto's restrictions.

Russia's economic collapse after 1990 nearly halved its emissions - and the base year chosen for Kyoto is 1990. This arbitrary choice also favors Germany, which took over a faltering East German economy, and Great Britain, which switched its electric generation from coal to natural gas at about that time. We would lose out, and maybe that's why our economic competitors are so anxious to get us to ratify Kyoto.

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and the author of Hot Talk Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate (Independent Institute, Oakland, 1999).

West Coast
22nd Oct 2004, 07:01
Simply reflects what many, even some of the framers have said, Kyoto is symbolic in nature and provides little actual gain and only serves to punish others. I honestly believe if an agreement could be brokered that provided for real, meaningful gains that the US would be party to it.

22nd Oct 2004, 07:30
Stop and think about this for a second...

The US contains around 4% of the world's population, but greenhouse gas emissions total 36% of the worldwide figure. (More than the whole of the EU and China put together)

How long do you think this can be sustained?

I am not intending this thread to generate into another US vs Europe slanging match but the US has to do something to cut its emissions.

Sure Kyoto has its problems and Europe isn't exactly low on emissions either but at least many European countries are committed to recycling/reducing emissions and so on. After all, we only have one planet and we all have to live here.

Perhaps the US should be paying around $7 a gallon for fuel too.

22nd Oct 2004, 07:52
The war over U.S. science

By Andrew C. Revkin The New York Times
Thursday, October 21, 2004

NEW YORK Why is American science seemingly at war with President George W. Bush? For almost four years, and with rising intensity, scientists in and out of government have criticized his administration, saying it has selected or suppressed research to suit policies, skewed advisory panels or ignored unwelcome advice, and quashed discussion within federal research agencies.

Administration officials see some of the criticism as partisan, and some perhaps a function of unrealistic expectations on the part of scientists about their role in policy debates. "This administration really does not like regulation and it believes in market processes in general," said John Marburger, the president's science adviser, who is a Democrat. "So there's always going to be a tilt in an administration like this one to a certain set of actions that you take to achieve some policy objective."

Jesse Ausubel, an expert on energy and climate at Rockefeller University, said some of the bitterness could stem from researchers' being excluded from circles that were open to them under previous administrations. "So these people who believe themselves important feel themselves belittled," he said.

Indeed, much of the criticism has come from private groups, like the Union of Concerned Scientists and many environmental organizations, with long records of opposing positions the administration favors. Nevertheless, political action by scientists has not been so forceful since 1964, when Barry Goldwater's statements promoting the deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons spawned the creation of the 100,000-member Scientists and Engineers for Johnson.

This year, 48 Nobel laureates dropped all pretense of nonpartisanship as they signed a letter endorsing Senator John Kerry for president. "Unlike previous administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy making that is so important to our collective welfare," they wrote. The critics include members of past Republican administrations.

This month, three NASA scientists and several officials at NASA headquarters and at two agency research centers described how news releases on new global warming studies had been revised by administrators to play down definitiveness or risks. The scientists and officials said other releases had been delayed. "You have to be evenhanded in reporting science results, and it's apparent that there is a tendency for that not to be occurring now," said James Hansen, a climate expert who is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

Glenn Mahone, the assistant administrator of NASA for public affairs, denied that any releases on climate had been held up or modified by anything other than normal reviews. "There has been a slowdown," he said. But he added, "There is nothing in terms of any kind of approval process with the White House."

This year, after continuing complaints that the White House was asking litmus-style questions of nominees for scientific advisory panels, the first question asked of a candidate for a panel on Arctic issues, the candidate said, was: "Do you support the president?"

Some of the clash is also most likely fueled by a presidential style that is antithetical to the way science operates, said supporters and critics of Bush. "He uses a Sharpie pen," said John Howard Jr., a former adviser to Bush on the environment in both the White House and the Texas statehouse. "He's not a pencil with an eraser kind of guy."

In the campaign, Bush's team has portrayed this trait as an asset. His critics in the sciences say it is a dangerous liability.

Complaints about the administration's approach to scientific information have also come from within the government. Many career scientists and officials have expressed frustration and anger privately but were unwilling to be identified for fear of losing their jobs. But a few have stepped forward, including Hansen at NASA, who has been researching global warming and conveying its implications to Congress and the White House for two decades. Hansen, who was invited to brief the Bush cabinet twice on climate and whose work has been cited by Bush, said he had decided to speak publicly about the situation because he was persuaded global warming posed a serious threat.

People in the administration, he said, are "picking and choosing information according to the answer that they want to get, and they've appointed so many people who are just focused on this that they really are having an impact on the day-to-day flow of information."

Other disputes have erupted over stem cell policy, population control and Iraq's nuclear weapons research. But nowhere has the clash been more intense or sustained than in the area of climate change. The intensity of the disagreements has been stoked not only by disputes over claimed distortion or suppression of research findings, but also on the other side by the enormous economic implications.

Several dozen interviews with administration officials and with scientists in and out of government, along with a variety of documents, show that the core of the clash is over instances in which scientists say that objective and relevant information is ignored or distorted in service of established policy goals. Scientists were essentially locked out of important internal White House debates; candidates for panels were asked about their politics as well as their scientific work, and the White House exerted broad control over how scientific findings were to be presented.

Some of the loudest criticisms of the administration on climate science have centered on changes to reports and other government documents dealing with the causes and consequences of warming. Political appointees have regularly revised news releases from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, altering headlines and opening paragraphs to play down the continuing warming trend. The changes are often subtle, but they consistently shift the meaning of statements away from a sense that things are growing warmer in unusual ways. The pattern has appeared in reports from other agencies as well.

Several sets of drafts and final press releases from NOAA on temperature trends were provided to The New York Times by government employees who said they were dismayed by the practice. On Aug. 14, 2003, a news release summarizing July temperature patterns began as a draft with this headline: "NOAA reports record and near-record July heat in the West, cooler than average in the East, global temperature much warmer than average." When it emerged from NOAA headquarters, it read: "NOAA reports cooler, wetter than average in the East, hot in the West."

The situation is not likely to get better any time soon, say a host of experts, in part because of the growing array of issues either underlaid by science, like global warming, or created by science, like genetic engineering and cloning.

Evening Star
22nd Oct 2004, 08:22
It all comes down to self interest of course, although if the Pentagon have their say the outcome may be different:

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1153513,00.html)

Guess any action is on hold until after the election? And when we do get action will it be as symbolic as some people like to think Kyoto to be? Silly questions. :rolleyes:

22nd Oct 2004, 08:29
Please do not try and hijack this into another election Democrat/Republican, Kerrey/Bush thing.

Look at the vote 95-0. There is no support for Kyoto in the USA within either party. It is seen as a scam for the governments in poor countries to rip off big bucks by selling their emission quotas to the USA. The end result will be that there will be more pollution in the USA because it will be cheaper to buy the quota than fix the problem.

And when they eventually have sold off their quotas, do you think the third world nations will start cutting down their own emissions accordingly or will fudge the figures?

The USA will be much better using the money on financing ways to reduce their own emissions.

Now I do not expect Bush or Kerrey to do that. If any President tried it would not get through Congress anyway. Look what happened to even the limited attempt to increase the required vehicle MPG.

But much of that sort of legislation lies in the hands of the individual states, and many are starting to address the problems where the exist in their own backyards. As an example I will point out the recent Californian legislation:

Sept 24th 2004: "California air quality regulators today approved the world's first rule aimed at cutting vehicle emissions that contribute to global warming....The California Air Resources Board adopted the regulation that will apply to new passenger cars, sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks sold in the 2009 model year. By 2012, the rules are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by an average of 22% and by 2016 to 30%."

Proponents insist that, while Kyoto will be almost entirely ineffectual, it is "symbolic" and will lead to further, more effective, treaties. Yeah, right, just as long as the money keeps coming......

Evening Star
22nd Oct 2004, 09:15

Not hijacking. Have low expectations from whoever wins for all the reasons you give. Even, and wearing my environmental credentials firmly on my sleeve, have to agree with your cynical (realistic ... take your pick?) analysis of Kyoto. Suppose the best thing one can say is that Kyoto is better than nothing.

Only thing, would the USA really use the money saved to reduce emissions? Rather goes against the impression of conspicuous consumption. At least a binding treaty concentrates minds.

22nd Oct 2004, 10:27

"I honestly believe if an agreement could be brokered that provided for real, meaningful gains the US would be party to it"

You're not serious are you?

22nd Oct 2004, 15:55
Lets suppose for one second that the changing weather patterns are related to global warming . . . how many hurricane seasons like this one will it take to wake the US up?

BTW, Russia's lower house of government has now ratified Kyoto

West Coast
23rd Oct 2004, 01:44
I see an emerging trend early on.

What many of you are desiring is wealth, capital and resource redistrubution from the US to elsewhere, not any desire to help the environment. Kyoto would have changed the size of the slice of pie the US enjoys but with no upside environmentally. The only gain being to punish the US for being sucessful.

Many are piggy-backing on Kyoto as it dovetails nicely into other agendas.

Zapatas Blood
23rd Oct 2004, 03:57
In the US now, more SUV's are sold than cars. Many of the cars that are sold are 3.5 - 4.0 litre 6 cyl or 4.0 - 5.7 litre v8's.

This is not the case in Europe or Japan.

The US could do a hell of a lot about emissions starting right now but how do you convince billy bob that living in mountain view does not require the ownership of a chevy monster v8.

23rd Oct 2004, 04:07
I read somewhere a few years ago, that the economic penalty of the Kyoto accord on the US economy would be equivalent of shutting down the entire city of Detroit. Lock, stock and barrel. Ain't no way it'll happen.
People bandy about the fact that the US, with 4% of the world's population create 40% of the greenhouse gases. What percentage of the worlds goods and services are produced as a result of the creation of that percentage. In other words, does 4% of the world's population produce 10%, 15% or 20% of the global goods and services while emitting 40% of greenhouse gases, and how does that compare with other countries?

23rd Oct 2004, 07:46

Bullshit flag thrown again. Please PROVE that more SUVs are sold than passenger cars. WHile it is true that SUVs account for the Loin's share of profits generated by Detroit automakers, they are far from a majority of vehicles sold.

If you think that more SUV's are sold than passenger cars you have NEVER driven on a US highway.


That link says 25 percent of the cars sold in America are SUV's. THat was Forbes magazine. BTW, have you been to Europe lately? I have. There are an awfull lot of SUVs on the Road in great Britain. Last time I checked that was part of Europe...


23rd Oct 2004, 08:06
The problem with Kyoto is that it is largely meaningless.

Why? Because most of the worlds population is either exempt or uneffected. All developing countries (Asia minus Japan, Africa, Middle East, India, Central and most South America) are exempt. South America has huge carbon credits and is therefore not affected, Germany has to do nothing after it shut down the old brown coal East German power stations, same with Britain after changing some generation to gas around 1990. France was doing a major refurbishment (co-incidence?) of its nuclear stations in 1990 and just switched back from greenhouse to nuclear and therefore has to do nothing. Russia's economy collapsed and will take years to reach 1990 emission levels.

That leaves only a few countries that would have to do anything (US, Canada, Australia, NZ) and any greenhouse savings would be offset by increases from developing countries anyway.

What needs to be done is more drastic than a stupid protocol but is unlikely to occur. Things like - Goverments give rebates to solar hot water systems, tax rates on huge cars is increased etc. Countries like the US dramatically increase fuel tax and spend the proceeds on developing alteratives. Money is spent on tidal power generation and so on.

There are lots of good ideas out there but Kyoto is not one of them.

23rd Oct 2004, 08:39
Kyoto is indeed a load of gonads. Yes, the climate is changing, yes, temperatures are rising, yes, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing. But it is the increasing temperature which is causing CO2 levels to rise, and not the other way round.

Climate change is a natural part of the earth's cycle, far greater and far older than mankind, and on far too significant a scale to be under the influence of man and his puny technologies. We are not changing the climate. Sorry, but we're just not that good.

David Bellamy has penned an article which will hopefully add some sense and balance to the ludicrous debate about humanity affecting the planet's climate. One of the below links should work for most.



Zapatas Blood
24th Oct 2004, 03:06
wino - according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and various other sources, the sales of "trucks" (I assume includes SUV's) overtook the sale of "cars" in the US in about mid 1998. That trend has continued. Interestingly, there are numerous reports lately indicating the "truck" craze in the US is on the up swing with some automakers reporting truck sales increasing as much as 35%.

I am unaware of your flag system.

24th Oct 2004, 09:58
Please provide a link to that.

I provided you a link to forbes with a much later date that said that Trucks were 25 percent of the vehicles sold in the USA

Infact here is an article from 2004 (IOW current)
Thats shows truck sales as 24 percent of the market.


Come on. Some facts please..


West Coast
25th Oct 2004, 08:15
Zapatas Blood

Do your stats provide you with simple numbers or do they tell you the story you want. My wife has a SUV. Its a Hyundai Santa Fe. Gets great milage. The market for small, effecient SUV's seems to be booming by the number that populate the roads.


26th Oct 2004, 04:16
I found some links


Second last paragraph


The top 3 manufacturers are clearly selling a bucketload more trucks than cars and the types of trucks sold are not small motor SUV's either.

You can argue until the cows come home but the bottom line is - Amerika has a very poor record wrt gas emissions. No experts disagree with that - except cheney.

West Coast
26th Oct 2004, 06:14

Your link clearly shows a sales trend away from larger vehicle manufacturers to ones building smaller vehicles.

Thanks for the link.

26th Oct 2004, 07:08

the top 3 have sold about 4 million trucks so far this year and about 1.9 cars.

the ramaining outfits have made about 1.3 million trucks and 1.9 million cars. just roughly glancing at the numbers.

that makes about 5.3 million trucks and 3.8 million cars.

The person who bought this up is correct - the US makes fewer cars than trucks. Does the data show anything different. Did the cnn article show anything different.

Having spent a lot of time in europe and america it doesnt take a rocket scientist to realise that americans drive more larger cars than europeans (or japanese) with generally bigger engines.

The vehicle emission data supports this.

but hell, just keep arguing til ur blue in the face.

West Coast
26th Oct 2004, 07:50
Funny, I don't remember arguing.

I agree with your generalization. Do you need to sit down now and recover?

Just like you, I also have spent time in America driving around, willing to bet more time than you. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there are more and more fuel efficient SUV's, trucks and cars as compared to the ones from even five years ago, especially on the SUV side. The almighty dollar reigns. If I don't have enough of them, I will buy something that doesn't take a lot of Benjamin's to fill up. Such is the market. You seem amazed by the 5 million number, remember there are quite a few of us as compared to you and that number simply reflects that.

26th Oct 2004, 08:30
I burnt some gasoline today, just because I could. I mean, I figured, THIS IS NOT THE CAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING ANYWAY, so what the hey?
Wrong tree...barking...there's a connection here...

JB Mods
26th Oct 2004, 09:04
3 Continent Willy Waving Contest. :rolleyes: